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1 November, 2017 12:53:24 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 1 November, 2017 11:26:55 AM

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Shortfall in climate action is ‘catastrophic’: UN

AFP
Shortfall in climate action is ‘catastrophic’: UN

PARIS: There is a "catastrophic" gap between national pledges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the actions needed to cap global warming below two degrees Celsius, the UN's environment chief warned Tuesday, days ahead of global climate talks in Bonn, reports AFP.

Even if fulfilled, these voluntary pledges -- inscribed along with the 2 C target in the 2015 Paris climate pact -- would see the world heat up 3 C (5.6 F), unleashing deadly heatwaves, superstorms and rising seas, UN Environment said in its annual Emissions Gap report, the bleakest ever.

Record-setting extreme weather in 2017 -- including monsoon flooding, raging fires, and a trio of deadly hurricanes -- likely bears the fingerprint of global warming, it noted.

"One year after the Paris Agreement entered into force, we still find ourselves in a situation where we are not doing nearly enough to save hundreds of millions of people from a miserable future," said Eric Solheim, head of the UN agency.

"Governments, the private sector and civil society must bridge this catastrophic climate gap."

Compiled by more than 200 climate scientists and experts, the annual, 100-page analysis tracks progress toward the Paris goal of checking the rise in global temperatures at "well below" 2 C.

With many poor nations already feeling the sting of a planet out of kilter with only one degree of warming, the treaty also vowed to explore the feasibility of holding the line at 1.5 C.

Current commitments for slashing pollution take us only a third of the way toward the 2 C target, and would eat up 80 percent of humanity's "carbon budget" -- the amount of CO2 we can spew into the atmosphere without crossing that threshold -- by 2030, the report said.

It doesn't help that the United States, the world's second largest emitter, has abandoned its greenhouse gas goals under Donald Trump.

"Momentum is clearly faltering," said Edgar Gutierrez-Espeleta, Costa Rica's environment minister and president of the current UN Environment Assembly.

"We face a stark choice: up our ambition, or suffer the consequences."

If the gap is not closed by 2030, the report said, "it is extremely unlikely that the goal of holding global warming to well below 2 C can still be reached."

In 2016, humanity emitted the equivalent of 52 billion tonnes -- or gigatonnes -- of CO2 (52GtCO2e), including other gases such as methane.

To stay on the 2 C track, that number must come down to about 42 GtCO2e by 2030, and eventually hit "net zero" -- meaning that any gases going into the air must also be pulled out.

But even with carbon cutting pledges from more than 190 nations, carbon pollution in 2030 is set to rise to 53 GtCO2e. Without them, emissions shoot up to 60 GtCO2e.

"The report is a good counter-weight to some of the optimism out there about global CO2 emissions more-or-less stalling for the last two years," said contributing author Oliver Geden, a researcher at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs.

"It highlights the sense of emergency."

EA

 

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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